High school wrestling gets under way
HUNTINGTON — High school basketball isn’t the only winter sport underway across the Tri-State as wrestlers are on the mats and working toward state championship tournaments.
Huntington High hosted Ripley and Winfield on Nov. 28, the first day teams were allowed to compete in West Virginia.
The Highlanders are trying retake the throne as the Mountain State’s top Class AAA program that Parkersburg South has held the past four years. The Highlanders finished second at the state tournament last February behind the Patriots.
Huntington High hosts Parkersburg South and Spring Valley for a tri-match beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s a new season, and that brings a whole new set of challenges. So, every year is a new year,” Huntington High coach Rob Archer said. “After each year ends, you reshuffle the deck.”
Archer has taken the Highlanders to tournaments in Lake Norman, North Carolina; and Barnesville, Ohio, to test them against tough competition but also to evaluate his wrestlers.
Huntington High will rely on its nucleus of seniors Zane Lanham, a two-time state champion who won last season in the 182-pound weight class, along with London Bowen (2018 state runner-up at 113 pounds) and Clayton Stewart (2018 third place at 160 pounds). Archer said he also is pleased with what he’s seeing from the underclassmen.
Always looking to take the Highlanders down as the top team in Class AAA Region IV are Cabell Midland and Spring Valley.
Spring Valley entered the season with a new head coach, Chris Miles, taking over for Anthony Emana.
Miles was the head coach at South Point the past two seasons and inherited a strong program built by Emana. Miles said when the Spring Valley job opened after Emana departed for Berkeley County he jumped all over it.
Miles will have in his stable Cody Stanley, who is jumping up two weight classes, from 195 pounds to heavyweight. Additionally, Miles, a former state champion wrestler at Huntington High for Archer, said he thinks Caleb Cross (120), Logan Quigley (220), Ian Harper (220) and Chase Stevens (195) will challenge for state tournament titles.
“I’ve been around wrestling for a while and it’s good to get back over to West Virginia,” said Miles. “I think we’re a topfive program this year.”
Luke Salmons is Cabell Midland’s second-year head coach who also coaches the Knights in football. Cabell Midland began the season with wins in tournaments at Hurricane and Ripley.
Salmons’ team features seniors Logan Osburn, Ivan Vaughn, Preston Rose and Luke Jordan. The Knights also have Vaughn’s younger brother, Isaiah, wrestling.
Isaiah Vaughn qualified for the state tournament and placed fifth in the 138-pound weight class as a freshman. This season he’ll compete at 145 pounds. Jordan will wrestle at 113, while Ivan Vaughn is in the 195-pound class. Rose is in the 220-pound division while Osburn is a heavyweight.
“They’ve gotten a little better,” Salmons said of his team. “The kids worked hard, put the work in. We just have to peak at the right time and keep getting better.”